« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
I lost not what I lost, rather by them
I gain'd what I have gain'd, and with them dwell,
Copartner in these regions of the world,
If not disposer ; lend them oft my aid,
Oft my advice by presages and signs,
And answers, oracles, portents, and dreams,
Whereby they may direct their future life.
Envy they say excites me, thus to gain
Companions of my misery and woe.
At first it may be; but long since with woe
Nearer acquainted, now I feel, by proof,
That fellowship in pain divides not smart,
Nor lightens aught each man's peculiar load.
Small consolation, then, were man adjoin'd.
This wounds me most (what can it less ?) that man,
Man fallen, shall be restored; I never more.”
To whom our Saviour sternly thus replied:
“Deservedly thou grievest, composed of lies
From the beginning, and in lies wilt end;
Who boast’st release from hell, and leave to come
Into the heaven of heavens : thou comest, indeed, 410
As a poor miserable captive thrall
Comes to the place where he before had sat
Among the prime in splendour, now deposed,
Ejected, emptied, gazed, unpitied, shunn'd,
A spectacle of ruin, or of scorn,
To all the host of heaven; the happy place
Imparts to thee no happiness, no joy;
Rather inflames thy torment, representing
Lost bliss, to thee no more communicable;
So never more in hell than when in heaven.
But thou art serviceable to heaven's King.
Wilt thou impute to obedience what thy fear
Extorts, or pleasure to do ill excites ?
What but thy malice moved thee to misdeem
Of righteous Job, then cruelly to afflict him
With all inflictions ? but his patience won.
The other service was thy chosen task,
To be a liar in four hundred mouths;
For lying is thy sustenance, thy food,
Yet thou pretend'st to truth; all oracles
By thee are given, and what confess'd more true
Among the nations ? that hath been thy craft,
By mixing somewhat true to vent more lies.
But what have been thy answers, what but dark,
Ambiguous, and with double sense deluding,
Which they who ask'd have seldom understood,
And, not well understood, as good not known ?
Who ever, by consulting at thy shrine,
Return’d the wiser, or the more instruct,
To fly or follow what concern’d him most,
And run not sooner to his fatal snare ?
For God hath justly given the nations up
To thy delusions ; justly, since they fell
Idolatrous: but, when his purpose is
Among them to declare his providence,
To thee not known, whence hast thou then thy truth,
But from him, or his angels president
In every province, who, themselves disdaining
To approach thy temples, give thee in command
What, to the smallest tittle, thou shalt say
Shalt be inquired at Delphos, or elsewhere;
At least in vain, for they shall find thee mute.
God hath now sent his living oracle
Into the world to teach his final will;
And sends his Spirit of truth benceforth to dwell
In pious hearts, an inward oracle
To all truth requisite for men to know.”
So spake our Saviour; but the subtle fiend,
Though inly stung with anger and disdain,
Dissembled, and this answer smooth return'd:
“Sharply thou hast insisted on rebuke, And urged me hard with doings, which not will, But misery, hath wrested from me. Where Easily canst thou find one miserable, And not enforced oft-times to part from truth, If it may stand him more in stead to lie, Say and unsay, feign, flatter, or abjure ? But thou art placed above me, thou art Lord: From thee I can, and must, submiss, endure Check or reproof, and glad to 'scape so quit. Hard are the ways of truth, and rough to walk, Smooth on the tongue discoursed, pleasing to the ear, And tunable as sylvan pipe or song; What wonder, then, if I delight to hear Her dictates from thy mouth ? Most men admire Virtue, who follow not her lore : permit me To hear thee when I come (since no man comes), And talk at least, though I despair to attain. Thy Father, who is holy, wise, and pure, Suffers the hypocrite or atheous priest To tread his sacred courts, and minister About his altar, handling holy things, Praying or vowing; and vouchsafed his voice To Balaam reprobate, a prophet yet
Inspired : disdain not such access to me."
To whom our Saviour, with unalter'd brow:
“Thy coming hither, though I know thy scope, I bid not, or forbid; do as thou find'st Permission from above; thou canst not more.”
He added not; and Satan, bowing low His gray dissimulation, disappear’d, Into thin air diffused : for now began Night, with her sullen wing, to double shade The desert; fowls in their clay nests were couch’d; And now wild beasts came forth the woods to roam.